Lifestyle expert Annette Joseph’s impressive culinary creations from basic pantry items
Shelter magazine producer. Chef. Prop stylist. Florist. Food stylist. M.I.L.F. Writer. Decorator. Athlete. Morning show expert. Gardener. To assign Annette Joseph just one title is to set yourself up for failure. She’s that Little Miss Good-at-Everything you want to hate but can’t: student body president, track star, cheerleading captain, philanthropist and comedienne. Producing a web-based feature on her is tricky as a b&$%@. How do we choose just ONE role for such a multi-faceted design star?
My photographer and I approached our first Annette Joseph feature as though we were culinary students. Our combined cooking expertise: toasted pop tarts, water in a glass with ice and re-heated soup. We asked Annette to walk us through so-easy-a-trained-monkey-could-do-it recipes certain to have friends and taste buds smiling. To further drive home how user-friendly this all was, the gracious hostess enlisted a quartet of [gasp!] teenage boys to execute it all under her direction. The outcome? An afternoon of jar opening, cheese sprinkling, X-box playing, oven pre-heating and the best $&%@ flatbread creations in history.
In the mix
My own pantry doors stand guard to a pathetic stash of Saltines, peanut butter and protein shakes. Annette’s is a different story. Her go-to ingredients for instant gourmet include: high quality dried rosemary, cold press olive oil, olive tapenade, marinara sauce, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, fig jam, pesto sauce, jarred chopped garlic, flavored olive oils and salsa. When it comes to must-haves in the fridge, Annette keeps cheddar, parmesan and feta cheeses as well as red onion and garlic year-round.
Bosslady insists on portioning ingredients into decorative vessels for breezy, organized prep. With boxes and jars back in the pantry, the entire process is kept clutter free.
After laying out the key ingredients, Annette gave the boys a culinary workout. The only gear necessary was packaged flatbread found in the bakery section of Target. Teacher’s pets Levi [Annette's son--grey shirt] and Jake [white/grey striped shirt] were assigned the initial steps of laying out parchment paper, then layering tomatoes and cheese with an assortment of oils and herbs. Next in line were Ian [black T-shirt] and Matt [red flannel/skull cap] who put their new skills to the test for the second, nearly identical batch. I don’t get it—boys will skim 10 foot walls on skateboards but find experimenting with innovative pizza toppings too risky? For foodies of all ages willing to try something different, Annette suggests these three flatbread combos: Classic Appetizer [marinara, mozzarella, crushed garlic, fig jam, rosemary and a touch of parmesan], Mexican Twist [salsa, chopped red onion, roasted peppers, Mexican style cheese] and Pesto Flatbread [pesto, parmesan, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes].
Gone in 60 seconds
Flatbread gourmet takes just minutes to create, 400 degrees to cook and mere seconds to disappear. In less than 15 minutes the boys managed to spread the sauce, sprinkle the cheese and most importantly, dine and dash.
Not from concentrate
Minestrone from a can + Joseph household = blasphemy. Annette’s gourmet take on the classic Italian favorite is fast and easy. Ingredients include: fresh or jarred garlic, garbanzo beans, pasta, olive oil, organic chicken broth, dried rosemary, crushed Italian tomatoes, dried mushrooms, kale and truffle oil.
Here’s how the kitchen queen made the minestrone magic happen. It started off with three tablespoons of olive oil and two crushed cloves of garlic thrown in a pot to saute until softened. Once the the softness set in, the main ingredients were slowly added: one can of garbanzo beans, one tablespoon of dried rosemary, 1/4 cup of dried mushrooms, 15 ounce box or can of crushed Italian tomatoes, three cups of chopped kale, 1/2 cup of pasta and one 32 ounce box of organic chicken broth.
Annette saves the best for last. After 45 minutes, the soup is taken off the stove then dispersed into six servings. The final step simply involves adding truffle oil to each individual portion, then scarfing down with flatbread.
Clean up crew
Nothing goes to waste in Annette’s kitchen. In fact, leftover ingredients became late night nosh for dish duty with Levi. After we wrapped, I made a beeline home to whip up my own Joseph-inspired creations: vanilla protein shake with fresh bananas and gourmet ice over Saltines with fresh butter-of-peanut.